VOX | SOLID BODIES | ACE

Vox Ace

1960s British solid body electric guitar

Two 1963 Vox Ace solid body electric guitarsTwo early Vox Ace guitars, a 1962 and a 1963. Although on the surface these guitars look very similar, there are subtle differences; have a closer look at these guitars

The Vox Ace was part of a new range of guitars announced by JMI in November/December of 1960; one of numerous solid bodies produced in the United Kingdom. It had a model designation V-2-5 or V205. It was equipped with two pickups, initially chrome-covered Vox 1950s/60s single coil pickup (although briefly), then the typical Vox V1 units. Finally these were upgraded to white Vox V2 pickups with individual polepieces.

Vox Ace advertisement, 1960The first advertisement for the Vox Ace appeared in BMG magazine (UK) in December 1960.

The very earliest examples had slab bodies with front binding and natural finish.

Early examples are also characterised by their long headstock (also seen on early Super Ace (three pickup model), Duotone (no tremolo) and Clubman models) but this neck was discontinued most likely by mid/late 1963.

Unlike the better known, and somewhat similar dual-pickup model, the Shadow, which was fitted with the Standard Vox Tremolo, the Ace was fitted with the Ace de Luxe Tremolo. The Ace was a higher end model than the Shadow, and it did have a better neck with a curved rosewood fingerboard, compared to the completely flat neck of the Shadow. It still had no adjustable truss rod though, and (early examples at least) still had a laminate wood body. Later models were made of an unspecified "lightweight hardwood", most likely mahogany or agba.

Vox Ace electric guitar - from the Vox "precision in sound" catalogue, 1964

This is how the Vox Ace was described in the 1964 Vox catalogue 'Precision in Sound'.

Specially selected lightweight hardwood body. Two six-pole pickups, volume control and separate flick-action tone change. Compensating bridge unit incorporated in smooth action tremolo unit. polished, reinforced neck, with rosewood fingerboard. Red, white or sunburst mirror finish.
Vox Ace advertisement, 1961By the second half of 1961, the Vox Ace was being advertised without the bound body of the very earliest examples

Despite the 1964 catalogue description, other colours were also shipped in small numbers beyond 1964, pale blue for example.

The Vox Ace changed continually throughout the course of it's production; some changes are very subtle indeed, some very much more obvious; see some of these summarised below. Dates are approximate.

Vox Ace timeline

  • December 1960: Vox Ace announced in the UK press. Example pictured has slab body and front binding.
  • 1961/62 Vox Ace specifications: pearl-effect scratchplate, Vox 1950s/60s single coil pickup, all screws have slotted heads. Body route suitable for one or two pickups only. Early Ace de Luxe tremolo units are unsprung; no body routing required. Cream and gold control knobs.
  • 1962/63: red finish standard, white single-ply as scratchplate standard, pickups changed to Vox V1 type, usually plain or with early-style (stretched) Vox font. Some scratchplates around this time have 9 screws instead of the standard 8. Typical white UK Vox control knobs. Have a look at a late 1962 Vox Ace.
  • 1963 Vox Ace body
  • Early 1963: Cross-head screws standard. Body routes have a wider bridge pickup route to accommodate an extra pickup (as used on the Ace de Luxe). Tremolos are now sprung, requiring a hole under the bridge (see image). Some instruments fitted with black single-ply scratchplates. Have a look at a 1963 Vox Ace
  • Mid/late 1963: complete redesign with new body style, neck, and white Vox V2 pickups with exposed pole-pieces. Body is solid wood rather than laminate. Available in red, white and sunburst finishes. New headstock decals with separate 'Vox' and 'Ace' markings.
  • 1964/65: new thicker 3-ply (white-black-white) scratchplate, metal control knobs. Have a look at a 1965 Vox Ace
1965 Vox Ace

Similar Vox Models

Vox Ace Wiring

The Vox Ace controls were very simple, consisting of just a master volume, a master tone, and a three-way pickup selector switch. The circuitry consisted two pots, in most cases a 1 MΩ logarithmic volume, and a 250 kΩ linear tone. (Actually, the 1966 parts list suggests a 250 kΩ volume; the precise value is clearly not critical). The tone pot was typically wired to a .05&mic;F Hunts capacitor. The switch, is a vintage style 'Arrow' brand 3 way, with two 47kΩ resistors (value bands yellow, violet, orange)

Click on the schematic or circuit images below for a closer look.

The Vox Ace circuit did not change functionally over the course of production, and although some Ace circuits look a little different, they all work in the same way.

This early 60s Vox Ace has the output jack mounted to the body edge (not visible in this pic). The bridge earth (orange lead) is the only non original wire in this loom.

This mid 60s Vox Ace has the output jack mounted onto the scratchplate, but is functionally identical to the early 60s loom above.

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mike wilkin Comment left 25th November 2014 07:07:48 reply
I have a vox ace,when ever i read about the ace people say they where made from 1962,well i bougt mine in 1960 WITH THE JENNINS CASE.hOPE THIS IS OF SOME HELP.

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